A rock-solid, selfless man
Dear Editor:According to Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, perseverance, teamwork, responsibility, trust, sacrifice, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority are a few of the life lessons learned through the game of football, and each was actively promoted by Aspen High School Football Coach, Travis Benson. Since the rejuvenation of the program in 2000, there hasn’t been a more dedicated person than Coach Benson. He put countless, thankless hours into the program (not only coaching but tutoring) along with Coach Goode and the other assistants. Seven years later, and Coach Benson is still putting in immeasurable hours with the student athletes, all with little praise from management and supposedly some parents. Why didn’t the parents with the problems, if they exist, go to the coach before directing their displeasure at those not involved with the day-to-day operations of the program? Coach Benson worked seven days a week for this program, while Dr. Diana Sirko, Charlie Anastas and Carol Sams were only present during game time, if that. Of the three years I spent in the new program, it was the practices that were the most influential. Don’t get me wrong; many of us had nothing good to say about Coach Benson after several practices! He conditioned us to death. One unforgettable practice occurred the Monday after our 40-plus point loss to Cedaredge. We all knew that we had a hell of a practice in front of us. When we stepped up to the line at the end of the day Coach Benson wasn’t in his usual position in front of us with clipboard and whistle in hand. Rather, he was standing on the line with us … ready to run. From that point on we all realized the passion and commitment for the football program, and more importantly for us, that Coach Benson had.I was surprised to read and hear how the events of last week took place, disturbing Coach Benson in a way I never thought possible. He is a rock-solid, selfless man who genuinely cares for his football players, as if we were his family. From what I understand about Aspen School District policy and through discussions with faculty members, it is not the business of the superintendent to get involved with elementary, middle or high school athletic issues.Sirko herself confirmed this by saying recently, “The person who would be his [Coach Sirko’s] superior is the athletic director. I would be fairly far removed from it. I would not be involved.” Unfortunately, Dr. Sirko DID get involved with the current situation. I recognize her husband’s ability and his success as a football coach, but I challenge Coach Sirko to separate himself from the mishandling of this situation and the parties responsible. I suggest he contact Coach Benson personally, for permission to participate as an assistant in the program Benson has created. Coach Benson has a long and storied history with the Aspen High School football program. With all due respect, the current principal and superintendent involved in this management debacle do not. Teddy FarrellSnowmass VillageCaptain, 2003 AHS varsity footballCaptain, 2003 AHS varsity football
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